Thursday, January 31, 2013 / 4:23 PM
When SLM asked Pat Shannon and her son, Gary VanMatre, about Mike Shannon’s Grill, the family’s new restaurant coming to Edwardsville, they peppered us with responses:
Why now and why Edwardsville?
Gary: We’d been looking in St. Louis for a few years now but nothing ever felt right until we saw Plum Creek and met the Dorsey’s [the developers]. My grandpa [Mike Shannon] has been pushing Edwardsville forever...he’s lived over there for 30 years. He predicted the present growth a long time ago.
That’s a great complex. Is the Grill next to Peel Pizza?
G: We’re adjacent to that building, and we like that the same creek runs behind both buildings...makes for a calming backdrop.
How will the Grill differ from Mike Shannon’s Steaks & Seafood?
G: We wanted be able to utilize all of grandpa’s memorabilia but take a more casual approach to our brand, so you’ll see $9 sandwiches and entrees in the teens, but also a few items—like some of the steaks we’re known for—in the low 30s.
Will there be a baseball column, like at the other place?
Pat: Close. Here, we’ll have a baseball wall. Think baseball wallpaper…six hundred or so balls, all of them used in practice. A few autographed balls will protrude out--my father’s favorite players, one for each position--like “out of the masses, the greats have emerged.”
G: Ted Williams, Johnny Bench, Bob Gibson, Mantle…Ozzie’s at shortstop. I believe Musial is there, too.
P: Where the steakhouse takes more of a Hall of Fame approach, the Grill will be more personal, like you just walked into Big Mike’s man-cave.
How big’s it gonna be?
P: Five thousand square feet, seating for 150, so not as big as Shannon’s, but not a small place. And like Shannon’s, we expect the bar to be lively, but the dining room will suit family dining as well as couples dining.
Who’ll run the place?
G: My brother Justin—who’s worked with us at the steakhouse for the last few years-- will be the GM. And Ginger Humphrey, who had been working in Arizona but was originally from Northern Illinois, is the chef. We persuaded her to come back to the Midwest to head up the Grill. (Depicted below, from left: Gary VanMatre, Pat Shannon, Big Mike Shannon, Ginger Humphrey, Justin VanMatre. Photograph by Matt Winte of The Edwardsville Intelligencer)
How about beer? Many restaurants now devote as much time to building a good beer list as they do their wine list.
G: The wine list will have 40 choices, with the majority available by the glass. There’ll be sixteen draft beers, coming from old ceramic beer towers. The cocktail list will focus on original and vintage cocktails which will go along with our vintage look.
What’s with all the “vintage?”
P: The Grill will look like a vintage athletic club…think old gym lights, old school leather booths, raised-wood paneling… G: Lamps, sconces, a trophy case made from old, wood lockers. Think “warm but energetic.”
Oh, and is it “grill” with an “e,” or without?
G: Without an “e.”
God bless you.
The menu is still in development, but some representative dishes are below.
When we asked when Mike Shannon’s Grill would open, we didn’t realize we were lobbing a softball to Gary. His response: “Let’s just say by opening day.”
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